Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland Office spends £1.25m on Hillsborough Castle upgrade

By Michael McHugh

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has spent £1.25m upgrading Hillsborough Castle for visitors.

Management of the castle is being transferred to Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) along with a running cost of £1.5m a year.

A mental health charity has been involved in a long-running battle against eviction from the complex. The High Court last month said Praxis must leave its cafe and market garden at the Co Down site. An NIO spokeswoman said: "The £1.25m represents additional investment in the castle which combined with significant investment by HRP will ultimately result in a much more impressive visitor attraction.

"This will hopefully attract significantly more visitors while at the same time generating a considerable saving for the taxpayer."

The castle has been a royal residence and the home of the Northern Ireland Secretary since the 1970s. The new arrangements will result in HRP being responsible for the running costs.

The HRP website said: "Our long-term plan for Hillsborough Castle aims to open up the estate for the benefit of the whole community and give a richer experience to visitors exploring the castle and its history."

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